It is the IT (information Technology) of the medical field. Your standard geek (term used affectionately) with a couple basic Microsoft and CompTIA certifications managing your health information, electronic patient care records (ePCR’s), and medical billing probably isn’t good enough any longer if you want to meet the standard acceptable qualifications. No one is going to come knock on your agency’s door and demand you upgrade your IT department’s qualifications, but, really, you want someone who knows the intrinsic requirements of healthcare-related information management (including knowledge of HIPAA). You’ll want someone who has, at the minimum, training in Health Information Management (HIM). There are accredited programs that help set a baseline of core knowledge to be considered a health information manager. You can learn about what academic programs are accredited here at CAHIIM: http://www.cahiim.org/accredpgms.asp. CompTIA also has created a certification for Healthcare IT Technicians for what they and their members feel is a minimum standard of proficiency for IT techs. You can learn more about that here: http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/hittech.aspx
This job field is already obviously growing and analysts predict it will grow very quickly in the coming few years. In recent searches, I have found nearly every hospital with IT openings is looking for someone with HIM qualifications, plus the feds are too, especially at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the VA medical centers.
If you want a quick overview of what Health Information Management is all about, take a look at the following infographic from the U of Illinois, Chicago:
The infographic links back to the UIC website, but they did not sponsor this post and have no affiliation with The Unwired Medic.